Saturday, November 26, 2005


Marcia and Ken went home today. We had them over for Thanksgiving. Claire had been coming up with different ways to convinse them to take her back to Massachusetts with them. Marcia and Claire have a hard time parting. I often wonder what would have happened if we kept the farm in Chesterfield.

No one in my family even considered coming for the holidays. My mom may come for New Years. Brian just came back from El Salvadore and wanted to stay close to home. I don't blame him. With the majority of the herd dry, we can barely afford to buy groceries, let alone hire someone to come and take care of the animals, pay for the gas to travel home and loose presious sleep on a different bed for just a meal and visiting. Part of me misses going home every holiday and part of me wants to stay put and have them come here if they want to see me. 3 1/2 hours one way isn't bad.

I'm trying to find a way to handle the holidays now that Claire knows that the holidays are about gifts. The main part of the concept that she caught onto was that people may get her things. She has been pouring through "wish books" (catalogues) to find all of those things she may possibly want. I'm making gift boxes with cheese, beeswax candles, soap and peanut brittle. Everything I can make. I also have pine cones that Cecil found to make into ornaments for our tree.

David bought the pH meter I found in Nasco catalogue for my Christmas gift. He is the perfect Yankee, prefering to buy sheep, gloves or pH meters rather than diamonds or something girly like clothes. And what an opportunity... a pH meter in a catalogue. He didn't even have to go to the Mall!! Woohoo!!

I have to pick Patrick up for the workshop next month. I think I'll have to get him in VT instead of the Canadian boarder. I'll bring Claire to MA to see the family and swing up to Weston to get him and then come back to NY. I have no idea what to expect. I still have to vacuum the car and clean out Peter Sheeps droppings in the trunk (Ford Escort station wagons can hold 7 full sized goats in a pinch). The weather is suppose to be up to 50 on Monday so I'll bring the ole car up to the gas station in Morrisville with the rug washing bit.

Back to Tim's business plan.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Well, it finally happened. Dave was knocked down by the herd bull. I guess Davey (bull) was trying to mount a Tanner Holstein while going out the door. Before he ripped the pipeline down, Dave (husband) tried to get him off the cow. Bull came down, just not on the side Dave anticipated.

It is dicey having a bull, but getting animals bred back is not easy in NY. I don't know if it is the lepto from deer or rats, mineral deficiency, or if there is something else that is just off. Guiness (kerry bull) was getting old and the sore foot he got from an organic dairy farmer I loaned him to seemed to cause him troubles. Cows just kept coming back into heat. Chuck (another organic dairy farmer) told me about a nice shorthorn bull he had that could he had for the season. On the big size, but his temper was decent and he minded in the barn.

Dairy farmers have these rules about bulls. Women who are menstruating should not be around a bull... When they walk with purpose, ship them... Don't keep a Jersey long, they go mean the fastest... There are variations on this theme, but the deal is that you just cannot trust a bull. One farmer I worked with showed scars from a bull. He got that hugging a pipeline when that animal tried to kill him. Decent in the morning, not so good that night.

Now Davey wasn't trying to me mean. He just had a girl in heat and something had to be done. No opportunity can be lost. His size is a problem however. Like a toddler who could go under the table one day, and hits his head, things change and everyone can get hurt.

Dave was just brought to his knees. Could have had any one of the animals on top of him. With knee surgery last year and issues with a hernia (that he will not fix), a big bump by a bull can be devestating to him physically and us financially.

I wish we had a bull pen and yard. It is the best way to manage a bull. Older ones with good genetics can be kept longer and there is less likelihood of someone getting hurt.